Yoga and Mindfulness for children.
9/24/2023 0 Comments
Today we are going to talk about a very important style of yoga that is often overlooked when it comes to practicing with children - restorative yoga. As a children's yoga teacher, I understand that some people might think it's impossible for young children to sit still and be calm. I often share about how children do not need to sit still and be calm to practice yoga! I have two wild ones myself and I know if I tell them to sit still and be calm.....it’s not going to happen easily. You know those moment where you’re sat in a nice restaurant and the food is taking a bit too long and your little one is starting to get restless and they start climbing on the seat and you tell them to sit down but you can see their hold body is desperate to move around - Yes, I get it. Staying still can be challenging.
The Nervous System
First, let's talk about the nervous system. Children's nervous systems are still developing, and they can easily become overstimulated by the world around them. When this happens, they might become hyperactive or irritable. Restorative yoga can help to calm the nervous system by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest and relaxation.
So, what does restorative yoga look like for young children? It doesn't have to be a long practice - even just a few minutes of stillness and deep breathing can make a big difference. I like to call restorative yoga, cosey yoga with my little ones. We make it as cosey as we can by using props such as bolsters, cushions and blankets.
The Sleeping Butterfly
One of my favourite restorative poses for young children is the "sleeping butterfly." Have your child lie on their back with the soles of their feet together and their knees out to the sides. Place a small pillow or blanket under their head and play some soothing music. Encourage them to take slow breaths in and out. If they would like to they can close their eyes or use an eye pillow! (Comment below if you'd like to see a tutorial for how to make your own with the children at home!)
Variations: Bring more support into this pose by placing yoga blocks or cushions under the child's knees and even their hands.
You can also practice this pose using a bolster.
To practice sleeping butterfly pose with a bolster, start by placing a bolster or rolled up blanket behind your child, so they are sitting against the bottom of it. Then have them bring the soles of their feet together and their knees out to the sides, like the wings of a butterfly.
Next, gently encourage your child to recline back onto the bolster, supporting their head and shoulders against it, allowing them to relax and deepen the stretch in their hips. Once they are comfortable, encourage your child to breathe deeply and relax into the pose. You can also guide them in imagining that they are a butterfly, flapping their wings and flying through the air.
See how to practice ‘The Sleeping Butterfly Pose’ by watching this tutorial >>
By incorporating restorative yoga into your family's yoga practice, you are not only helping your child to calm their nervous system, but you are also setting a good example for them. Rest is just as important as movement, and by prioritizing both in your family's yoga practice, you are helping your child to develop a well-rounded yoga practice that will serve them for years to come.
So, let's all take a deep breath together and remember - rest is just as important as movement. Happy resting, yogi family!
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